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5 Cars Near Sydney Airport Destroyed by Lithium Battery Fire

A fire caused by lithium battery ignition has destroyed five cars in a car park near Sydney Airport.

On the night of Sept. 11, a fire broke out in Airport Drive, Mascot, prompting the witnesses to call firefighters.

When the firefighters arrived at the scene around 8:30 p.m., the fire already engulfed a luxury electric vehicle and spread to four nearby cars.

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Fire and Rescue New South Wales (NSW) and Aviation Rescue Firefighting Service joined hands to extinguish the fire shortly after.

Experts from several investigation and research teams also arrived at the scene to inspect the aftermath and determine the fire’s cause.

On the following day, investigators concluded that a battery that had been removed from the luxury car and stored in the parking lot ignited itself and started the blaze.

It was unclear why the owner removed the battery from the vehicle.

Superintendent Adam Dewberry from Fire and Rescue NSW said the fire could have been much worse if the fire departments had not taken action quickly, noting that there were around 25 to 30 cars in the car park when the fire broke out.

“The aviation team were on the scene very quickly and able to get on top of this fire. Even with the close proximity they are to the fire … it spread fairly quickly,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Meanwhile, a Fire and Rescue NSW spokesperson told The Epoch Times that he could not provide the brand or make of the electric vehicle due to legal considerations.

This photo shows the aftermath of the fire at a car park near Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Sept. 12, 2022. (Courtesy of Fire and Rescue NSW)
This photo shows the aftermath of the fire at a car park near Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Sept. 12, 2022. (Courtesy of Fire and Rescue NSW)

Fire Hazards of Lithium Battery

According to Fire and Rescue NSW, lithium-ion batteries contain electrolytes that are highly flammable.

They can catch fire when overcharged or charged with non-compliant charging equipment.

Overheating or exposure to heat or extreme temperatures can also cause lithium batteries to ignite.

Other possible causes include physical abuse (such as dropping, crushing, piercing, and vibrations), short-circuiting, battery cell malfunctions, and defects during the manufacturing process.

Data from Fire and Rescue NSW showed that there were 114 lithium-ion battery fires from Jan. 1 to July 31, 2023, in the state.

This is an upward trend, considering that 165 incidents were recorded across NSW in 2022.

Battery power supplies were responsible for the largest number of lithium battery-related fires in 2023, with 17 incidents, followed by e-bikes and scooters (15 incidents), other lithium battery-powered devices (14 incidents), and battery charges (13 incidents).

Mobile phones (five incidents), e-cigarettes (four incidents) and laptops/tables (two incidents) also contributed to the number of fires.

The Fire and Rescue NSW spokesperson advised people to stay away if they saw a fire involving an electric vehicle and call Triple Zero (000) for assistance.

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